. . . the Less I Understand

Every day seems to add a new layer of confusion to our lives. Confusion is the key word. It brings to mind a line from the song “The Heart of the Matter” by Don Henley: “The more I know, the less I understand.”
We’re the best educated dummies in world history. Knowledge used to be power. Now, it’s just roadkill on the information superhighway. Splat!
The “in” things include indifference, indecisiveness, inconvenience and intolerance. Step back and remind yourself of what each of those words means. Let me translate: I don’t care. I’m not sure. I don’t want to. I don’t think so.
Would you, knowing what you know, try to build any meaningful relationship – friendship, family, business, country – with building blocks like that?
Another casualty of what ails us is our willingness to believe anything we hear, leap to conclusions, believe the worst and conclude that everyone’s out to get us. Trust is splattered next to knowledge and the buzzards are pickin’ ‘em both clean.
I did a little Google research about how much Americans trust their institutions. Gallup measures that metric regularly. Here are results that compare the latest reading (within the last couple of years) and the first time they asked about a particular institution (most are in the mid-70s; the second line in each instance is the earliest it was polled).

Institution             Great deal or    Very little or
                        quite a lot      not at all

Church/organized religion
2020                        42                26
1973                        65                11

Supreme Court
2020                        40                18
1973                        45                17

Congress
2020                        13                45
1973                        42                14

Organized labor
2020                        31                 22
1973                        30                 24

Big business
2020                        19                 36
1973                        26                 29

Public schools
2020                         41                22
1973                         58                11

Newspapers           
2020                         24                39
1973                         9                 18

Military
2020                         72                9
1975                         58                12

Presidency           
2020                         39                37
1975                         52                16

Medical system
2020                         51                17
1975                         80                4

Banks           
2020                         38               19
1979                         60               10

TV News
2020                         18               49
1993                         46               18

Police           
2020                         48               19
1993                         52               12

Justice system
2020                          24              36
1993                          17              43

Small businesses
2020                          75              6
1997                          63              24

Internet news
2020                          16              47
1999                          21              25

Cutting to the chase, what all that data suggest is that more and more we trust each other less and less.
Doggone those politicians and presidents and judges and police and bankers and broadcasters and colonels and clerics!
Wait a minute. We have a problem. All those people we’re not trusting are recruited from a pool of imperfection – the human race. And that means – GULP! – you and me.
That is not a good place to be but at the moment I don’t think our country is in a particularly good place. Do you?
It is fixable, however. Not easy, but fixable. It has to start by placing the “in” stuff with more caring, self-assuredness, perseverance and understanding. And a pinch of humility wouldn’t hurt, either.
Isn’t that pretty much how we expect others to treat us? Or to put it another way, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
Where have I heard that before?

 

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